The Second Imperium was an Imperial faction led by the Dark Jedi Brakiss and the Nightsister Tamith Kai, both of whom formerly served under the leadership of Emperor Palpatine, in actuality a hologram projection created by four Imperial Royal Guards. The ultimate goal of these individuals was to bring about the return of the order of the Galactic Empire.
The Second Imperium was a thorn not only in the side of the New Republic, but also Luke Skywalker's new Jedi Praxeum. The conflict with the Imperium took on a personal nature for the Solo twins when their friend Zekk joined and eventually was named the Second Imperium's Darkest Knight. The Second Imperium's regime finally came to an end after only four years during the Battle of the Jedi Praxeum. During this battle, Zekk was turned back to the light side of the Force, the Imperium's ground forces were decimated, and Brakiss perished when the Shadow Academy's self-destruct mechanism was activated.
Following the destruction of the second Death Star, and the rise to prominence of the New Republic, many Imperials longed for a return to the former glory days of the Empire. With the formal declaration of peace at the signing of the Bastion Accords in 19 ABY, some officers in the remaining Imperial Deep Core Warlord forces decided to take matters into their own hands, rejecting these accords as a "sham" and splitting off from the official Imperial Remnant.
Four Imperial Royal Guards (who had formerly been Stormtroopers promoted by Admiral Natasi Daala to guardsman status) took advantage of this dissent, founding the Second Imperium. Using holograms of Emperor Palpatine, stretching from his earliest days as the Senator of Naboo to Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic to Emperor of the Empire, they impersonated him, creating a charismatic leadership figure to rally the Remnant dissenters. Blinded by their own aspirations and ambition, and given the Emperor's track-record of escaping death, many were all too eager to believe the ruse as true.
The Imperium grows
Between 19 ABY and 23 ABY, the Second Imperium grew steadily, following the path of earlier splinter movements, such as the Empire Reborn, in maintaining secrecy. At one point, it pledged itself to the command of Natasi Daala.
Brakiss was tasked with creating a new cadre of Imperial Dark Jedi to counter those of Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4. He used funds appropriated by the Imperium to construct a cloaked space station called the Shadow Academy to serve as a mobile academy for his Dark Jedi. It was equipped with training facilities not only for Dark Jedi, but also for stormtroopers and TIE pilots.
It was Brakiss's hopes that these Dark Jedi would help maintain order across the faltering remnants of the Empire. He recruited heavily from the Nightsisters of Dathomir, forming a leadership cadre consisting of a number of the witches such as Tamith Kai, Vonnda Ra, and Garowyn. Initial recruitment began on the planet Dathomir, with prospective students shipped off to the Shadow Academy to begin indoctrination and training.
In 22 ABY, the Second Imperium was joined by the TIE pilot Qorl, who had been eking out a life on the jungle moon of Yavin 4 since the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY. Qorl was placed in charged of the growing starfighter corps of the Second Imperium. He also revealed information on Skywalker's Academy gleaned from the Solo twins Jacen and Jaina when he forced them to repair his damaged TIE Fighter before escaping into hyperspace. With this information, a daring plan was launched to kidnap some of these students. It was hoped they would prove easy to corrupt, and their disappearance would strike fear into the New Jedi Order.
Initial clashes with the Jedi
Thus, a bold plan to kidnap trainees from the Jedi Academy was hatched. During a raid on Lando Calrissian's GemDiver Station which orbited the nearby gas giant of Yavin in 23 ABY, the Imperium used a small fleet consisting of a modified assault shuttle and four Skipray Blastboats to kidnap the Solo twins and their Wookiee classmate Lowbacca. Fellow trainee Tenel Ka Djo, and Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, began tracking them in a beat-up blockade runner Off Chance.
The three kidnapped trainees were integrated with the rest of the calls, but the Solos resisted all indoctrination attempts, as they had done years earlier against the Empire Reborn. Brakiss forced the twins to fight each other under holographic disguise, making each think the other was Darth Vader. Both escaped unharmed from the encounter and prepared to escape the space station. Skywalker and Ta' Djo discovered the recruitment camp on Dathomir and infiltrated it as prospective trainees. They were transported to the Shadow Academy in a cutting-edge ship Shadow Chaser, by one of the Nightsisters, Garowyn. En route, they overpowered her, jettisoning her out of the ship in an escape pod. (She was later recovered by the Second Imperium.)
Arriving at the space station to rescue the students, Luke and Tenel Ka found them partway through their own escape, (aided by their former opponent Qorl). After a brief confrontation with the leaders of the Shadow Academy, they successfully escaped together, taking the prized Shadow Chaser with them. At greater cost to the Second Imperium, Skywalker and the Republic were now aware of their existence.
In the wake of that inglorious endeavor, the Second Imperium adopted different tactics. Moving the Shadow Academy close to the Republic capital of Coruscant, they launched attacks on the bulk cruiser Adamant which was carrying weapons and hyperdrives. These parts were integrated into their burgeoning fleet. This also gave them the opportunity to gather more recruits. Rather than targeting children from the upper classes, instead they began targeting the dregs of galactic society. The promise of purpose and direction proved a powerful motivator, and the recruitment drives a success. Agents were sent to the lower levels of Coruscant, where they recruited gangs, such as the Lost Ones and their vicious leader Norys, and other rogues such as the orphaned street urchin Zekk—a former friend of the Solos. Force detectors stolen by Brakiss when he fled the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4 were used to identify any recruits with Force-sensitivity, such as Zekk and Welk.
However, it was not long before the Academy's presence was discovered. The Solo twins along with Lowbacca and Chewbacca used orbiting solar mirrors to burn out the Academy's cloaking devices, thus exposing it to the defending Republic forces. Despite a hasty retreat into hyperspace, the mission to Coruscant was a success both in terms of military ordnance and personnel gained.
Continuing with their training program, the two strongest students—Zekk and Vilas—were faced off against each other in a duel to the death in a zero-g chamber in the heart of the Shadow Academy. Zekk, alone, emerged alive and was crowned Darkest Knight. As part of his new promotion, he was placed in charged of an Imperium task force which attacked Thikkiiana City, a major city on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk and an important computer center. This task force of Dark Jedi and stormtroopers raided the city's computer units, making off with important components to continue the refitting of the Imperium's fleet.
When faced with his former friends, the Solos, Zekk faltered and refused to kill them, instead revealing that the Jedi Praxeum was to be the next target of the Imperium. The raid was a success, although the Imperium did lose two of their leaders: Garowyn, who fell to her death in the forests, and Vonnda Ra, who was eaten by a syren plant.
In a gesture of confidence, the "Emperor" and leader of the Second Imperium arrived at the Shadow Academy in a massive repulsorlift isolation chamber. Refusing to see even Brakiss, he was attended and represented only by the four Royal Guards. This caused Brakiss to be concerned about the Emperor's health. Later, from his isolation chamber, the Emperor prompted Brakiss to launch an assault against the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4.
Initially the battle proceeded as planned. An Imperium commando team, led by Commander Orvak, flew under the protective shield and destroyed the deflector shield generators. Following this, a Second Imperium ground force consisting of Stormtroopers and Dark Jedi surrounded the Jedi Praxeum, while TIE Fighters and TIE/sa bombers bombed the surrounding jungle. In space, the Shadow Academy and a fleet of refitted Star Destroyers and battle cruisers blockaded Yavin 4.
The arrival of the Republic fleet under Admiral Gial Ackbar changed the course of the battle. Below on the surface of Yavin 4, a number of personal confrontations were occurred. Tenel Ka faced off against Tamith Kai, in a bitter confrontation stemmed by the history of conflict between Dathomiri clans. More importantly, Brakiss was confronted by Luke Skywalker, his former master. Defeated and ashamed, Brakiss fled back to the space station, making his way to the isolation chamber. He demanded to see the Emperor. Blocked by two of the Royal Guards, he attacked in anger, cutting them down with ease and entering the chamber.
There, he discovered a third Royal Guard working on a bank of controls, computer screens and holographic generators and realized that the Emperor's return had been a ruse all along. In fear, the remaining guard used his "Emperor's" override controls to activate the Shadow Academy's self-destruct systems, destroying the Shadow Academy and killing all onboard.
With the destruction of the Shadow Academy, the battle turned in favor of the Republic and the remaining Imperium troops and Dark Jedi were killed or captured by the Republic, thus bringing an end to the Second Imperium's informal four year rule.
The fourth guard managed to escape on a shuttle and headed for parts unknown. He was later killed by the anti-Human Diversity Alliance in 24 ABY after he refused to reveal to them the location of the Emperor's Plague Storehouse. The final holdouts of the Second Imperium would only be defeated by Admiral Ackbar in 25 ABY, just prior to the start of the Yuuzhan Vong War. Ackbar would retire from service following the end of the mopping-up operation against the Second Imperium.
Many of the Shadow Academy students were rounded up by the Republic forces. Some, like Zekk, would later return to the Jedi Academy as students. Others, however, could never recover from their training. The dark side would dominate their destiny forever. One such student was Welk, who along with the Nightsister Lomi Plo was captured during the Yuuzhan Vong War, and imprisoned on the Koros-Strohna Baanu Rass which orbited the planet Myrkr.
During a Jedi mission to Myrkr in 27 ABY the strike team encountered two Dark Jedi. Faced with a common enemy, Lomi Plo and Welk agreed to assist the Jedi in finding the voxyn queen in return for safety and protection. Towards the climax of the mission, they stole a repaired freighter, Tachyon Flier, and fled into the Unknown Regions with the Jedi Raynar Thul and Lowbacca's translator droid M-TD onboard.
Much later, in 35 ABY, it was revealed that the ship had crash-landed on Woteba, setting all three aboard on fire and mutilating them. They were rescued by the Killiks—a species long believed to be extinct for millennia since their disappearance from their homeworld of Alderaan around 30,000 BBY. Eventually, all three were absorbed into the Killik hive mind, thus effectively becoming Joiners. All three also became the leaders of the hives they joined. Raynar Thul became UnuThul while Lomi and Welk became the leaders of the Gorog nest of Killiks, also known as the Dark Nest. On the same year of the Killik rediscovery, Welk was slain by Master Luke Skywalker during a raid on Kr's Gorog hive.
Under the influence of Lomi Plo and UnuThul, the Killiks and their Joiner allies instigated the Swarm War in 36 ABY and waged on both the Chiss Ascendancy and the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances. After a series of fierce battles, Lomi Plo was killed during a duel with Skywalker on her flagship Admiral Ackbar while UnuThul was captured and placed in the custody of the Jedi, thus ending their hold on the Killik hives.
The official leader of the Second Imperium was the then-long believed to be deceased Emperor Palpatine, with it being believed to be the case by the various Dark Jedi due to the fact that he had resurrected himself twice before. In actuality, however, "Palpatine" was just a series of holograms as well as various voice recordings modeled after the deceased Emperor, with the real leaders of the Second Imperium being four surviving members of the Emperor's Royal Guard. Three of them were killed by Brakiss, two when they refused to grant him entry to give the Emperor an urgent notice, and the last after he learned the deception, while the fourth managed to escape.
Dark Jedi commanders
Fitting for a Dark Side-aligned faction of the former Galactic Empire, the Second Imperium was mostly helmed militarily by various Dark Jedi and Nightsisters.
Brakiss was the main commander of the Second Imperium as well as one of the founders, and was fanatically devoted to Emperor Palpatine. His ties to the former emperor lay as far back as when he was a baby when he was recruited by the Inquisitorious due to being Force-sensitive. Although Luke Skywalker attempted to train him in the ways of the Jedi, he ultimately failed. Brakiss eventually was killed when the Shadow Academy self-destructed by the one remaining royal guard shortly after learning their deception.
Tamith Kai was the second in command to Brakiss, a female human Nightsister from the Great Canyon Clan, and acted as the assistant instructor. She also held a bit of a rivalry with Brakiss regarding their apprentices. She was ultimately killed during the assault on the Jedi Praxium when her platform was sabotaged.
Garowyn acted as the person in charge of various supply deliveries to the Second Imperium's forces. She was ultimately killed on Kashyyyk in an encounter with Jaina Solo and Chewbacca, while attempting to retrieve her ship.
Vonnda Ra was a Dathomirian Nightsister and, like Kai, a member of the Great Canyon Clan. She was in charge of bringing in Force-sensitive recruits to the Second Imperium. She ultimately was killed during the Battle of Kashyyyk by being devoured by a siren plant while fighting the Wookiee Sirrakuk.
Jeng Droga, a former Emperor's Hand, and who had served Palpatine multiple times, was one of the people who eagerly joined the Second Imperium due to thinking Palpatine returned from the dead, and was in charge of leading the assault on Yavin. He ultimately fell in battle with Kyle Katarn, due to being left furious upon learning that Palpatine's return was all a lie.
Shadow Academy trainees
Due to the Second Imperium being primarily a Dark-sider organization, there were several Dark Jedi who had been trained under the Shadow Academy.
Zekk was a former member of the Jedi, who after being captured and recruited into the Shadow Academy became proficient enough in the Dark Side to become a Darkest Knight. He then was one of the Dark Jedi who personally led against the Jedi Praxium on Yavin 4. Despite this, he ultimately warned the Jedi not to go inside the temple due to a bomb being present. Tamith Kai suspected that Zekk had loyalty issues beforehand, which were ultimately proven true.
Vilas was a Dathomirian Nightbrother who belonged to the Great Canyon Clan, like Tamith Kai. He was also considered her best student, as well as the rival of Zekk. Ultimately, in a duel to gain the title of Darkest Knight, he fell to Zekk.
Lomi Plo and Welk were trainees when the Shadow Academy fell, with the latter being Tamith Kai's second-best student after Vilas. They ultimately survived and went into hiding. Eventually, Welk and Plo were inducted into Darth Krayt's One Sith faction of the Order of the Sith Lords, and eventually instigate the Dark Nest Crisis and Swarm War before ultimately being killed.
Qorl, a former TIE pilot acted as one of the TIE pilots for the military forces, and was part of the invasion force against the Jedi Praxium on Yavin 4, and also was responsible for capturing the Adamant. He was ultimately shot down. Ironically, this defeat also convinced him to give up on the Empire.
Norys acted as a TIE pilot for the Second Imperium's military forces. Unlike the others, he neither was Force-sensitive nor did he have any military background. He instead came from a gang known as the Lost Ones and joined largely for the sake of power. His more sociopathic actions disturbed his commanding officer, Qorl, who later ended up killing him due to disobeying orders and recklessly trying to destroy the Lightning Rod.
Commander Orvak acted as one of the soldiers dispatched to disable the shield generators within the Jedi Praxium via his TIE stealth. He ultimately wasn't able to escape the Great Temple after rigging it to explode in time, however, as he had been bitten by a crystal snake and regained consciousness just long enough to see the bombs detonate.
Dareb was the subordinate to Orvak and also involved in the mission to disable the shield generators. He ended up killed when his TIE stealth crashed into a tree, thus forcing him to collide into the invisible shield.
They also had access to their own vessels as well, such as the rounded barge-shaped Battle Platforms. Some of their TIE/LN starfighters were also modified to include cloaking devices, appropriately known as TIE stealths. Two were utilized during the Assault on the Jedi Praxium.
The Shadow Chaser was a unique shuttle class in the prototype design, with its design being derived from the likes of the Theta-class T-2c shuttle and the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle. Brakiss considered it the finest small ship they had while Garowyn was particularly attached to the ship. It was mostly used as a transport shuttle for delivering supplies.
The most notable vessel, however, was the mobile battlestation Shadow Academy that acted as the headquarters and training center for the Second Imperium's darksiders. It was ultimately destroyed by its self-destruct sequence going off by one of the Emperor's Royal Guardsmen after Brakiss learned to his fury that the Emperor had not actually been revived.
Behind the scenes
The Second Imperium was the antagonist for the New Republic in the first six Young Jedi Knights novels. It was assumed at the time of their publishing that they were an offshoot of the Imperial Remnant, a fact that conflicted with later sources that stated this series took place four years after the Pellaeon–Gavrisom Treaty in Vision of the Future. This was retconned in The Essential Chronology by stating that the Second Imperium was founded by Imperials who did not hold Pellaeon's belief of peace with the New Republic.
- Young Jedi Knights: Shadow Academy (First appearance)
- Young Jedi Knights: The Lost Ones
- Young Jedi Knights: Lightsabers
- Young Jedi Knights: Darkest Knight
- Young Jedi Knights: Jedi Under Siege
- Young Jedi Knights: Shards of Alderaan (Mentioned only)
- Young Jedi Knights: Diversity Alliance (Mentioned only)
- Young Jedi Knights: Delusions of Grandeur (Mentioned only)
- Young Jedi Knights: Crisis at Crystal Reef (Mentioned only)
- The New Jedi Order: Edge of Victory I: Conquest (Mentioned only)
- The New Jedi Order: Star by Star (Mentioned only)
- Dark Nest I: The Joiner King (Mentioned only)
- Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen (Mentioned only)
- Dark Nest III: The Swarm War (Mentioned only)
- The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
- The Essential Chronology
- Secrets of Kashyyyk"—Star Wars Gamer 4 "
- The New Jedi Order Sourcebook
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 12
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
Notes and references
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 133 ("Second Imperium")
- The Essential Guide to Warfare, p. 232
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Essential Guide to Warfare, p. 182
- The Essential Chronology
- Young Jedi Knights: Shadow Academy
- Young Jedi Knights: The Lost Ones
- Young Jedi Knights: Darkest Knight
- Young Jedi Knights: Jedi Under Siege
- Young Jedi Knights: Shards of Alderaan
- Young Jedi Knights: Delusions of Grandeur
- The New Jedi Order: Star by Star
- Dark Nest Trilogy